Investing £1.7m to improve older tenants’ homes

A four-year plan to invest £1.7million into older people’s social housing has been approved by Runnymede’s Borough Councillors after residents were asked how their homes could be improved.

The work will take place at the Council’s five Independent Retirement Living sites in Addlestone, Chertsey and Egham. These are collections of flats and apartments and are a step up from traditional ‘sheltered accommodation’ but provide similar types of support. Staff are on hand to help when needed.

  • Redecorating will take place in communal lounges and new furniture will be brought in, while communal kitchens and reception areas will be re-modelled. This will allow the 200 tenants to have a modern and pleasant environment to spend time in, which is dementia friendly.
  • Hallways and landings will be redecorated.
  • To support safety and assistance in emergencies, the alarm call systems and secure door entry systems will be upgraded to a digital service.
  • Mobility scooter storage areas will be modernised, as will guest rooms and laundry facilities.
  • Gardens, pathways and outdoor seating areas will also be smartened up so tenants can make the most of the environment.

Tenants at the sites were asked about the proposed improvements during a series of drop in events and through surveys during the summer months. The final works will be amended to take into account the opinions given, and further discussions will be had on details like colour schemes and types of furniture.

Cllr Jacqui Gracey, Chair of Runnymede Borough Council’s Housing Committee said: “This is a substantial investment in the homes some of our older tenants live in. It clearly demonstrates our determination to support local people by providing a high quality of living at an affordable cost.

“All five of our Independent Retirement Living sites have a strong community feel about them and these improvements we’re bringing in mean tenants can enjoy living in even better accommodation.”

The upgrade will be funded from the rent payments which Council tenants make each month and will not be paid for from Council Tax income.

The improvement works are the cornerstone of a new Older People’s Strategy. Its vision is for:

  • First class and highly sought-after older people’s accommodation.
  • High quality on-site support promoting independence, tackling isolation and maximising tenants’ health and wellbeing.
  • A clear pathway into older people’s accommodation with assistance where required.
  • A partnership with Surrey County Council’s Adult Social Care services to ensure tenants receive the ‘right’ services where they are required.
  • Accommodation outside of Independent Retirement Living that meets the needs of older people.

Providing good quality supported living for older people backs up wider aims to reduce the number of hospital stays needed after accidents or operations, reducing pressure on the NHS.

The strategy also sets out that more will be done to improve access to older people’s accommodation provided by social landlords within the Borough. It also provides for people who wish to downsize into a smaller social home to be supported.

Published: 30 September 2021